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Senior al-Qaeda leader busted in Quetta
Today's Headlines
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Northeast due for major hurricane
The 2006 hurricane season will be more active than normal and could bring a devastating storm to the U.S. Northeast, private forecaster AccuWeather said on Monday. The outlook comes after the most costly hurricane season on record in 2005, with storms crippling New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast and briefly knocking out a quarter of domestic fuel production.

"There are now indications that the Northeast will experience a hurricane larger and more powerful than anything that region has seen in a long time," said Ken Reeves, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com. "The Northeast is staring down the barrel of a gun," said Joe Bastardi, AccuWeather.com's chief hurricane forecaster.
Dammit, they've found me again. I get assigned to Keesler in 1985, Elena hits the next month. Every time I went TDY to Okinawa, a typhoon showed up. The det finally asked me to stay away. We went on vacation every year to New Orleans, now that's gone. Move to Virginia, and we're looking down a gun barrel. Just great

The current storm cycle and above-normal water temperatures in the Atlantic are reminiscent of the pattern that produced the 1938 hurricane that struck Providence, Rhode Island, killing 600 people, Bastardi said.
The 1938 hurricane flooded out the town in Massachusetts where I grew up, it knew I was coming 14 years later
"The Northeast coast is long overdue for a powerful hurricane, and with the weather patterns and hydrology we're seeing in the oceans, the likelihood of a major hurricane making landfall in the Northeast is not a question of if but when," he said.

The Texas coast from Corpus Christi to the Louisiana border is also likely to be the target of higher than normal hurricane activity over the next 10 years, according to the forecast. Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Mississippi coast last August with winds above 135 mph and a 30-foot-high storm surge, causing more than $60 billion in damage. Katrina was followed by Hurricanes Rita in Texas and Wilma in Florida. Each wreaked more than $10 billion of insured losses, making 2005 the most expensive year for hurricanes ever. Bastardi said this year's storm activity will be above normal, but could be less active than 2005.
Posted by: Steve || 03/20/2006 13:48 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [297 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Its all Bush's fault!!! Global Warming!!! AAAAAAAA!!!!! /MSM hysteria
Posted by: DarthVader || 03/20/2006 14:34 Comments || Top||

#2  Joe Bastardi *used* to be the am weatherman for WMAL in DC. I never found him to be either funny or accurate, though not for lack of trying. As it is, DC has had its share of hurricanes lately. The last big one left the lights out for two months in some parts of town, but fortunately Fred saved the sandbags for the Rantburg server, "just in case".
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/20/2006 15:38 Comments || Top||

#3  Probably flood the Big Dig and cost us a couple hundred billion.
Posted by: Spugum Sherens5365 || 03/20/2006 15:42 Comments || Top||

#4  I thought destroying the Big Dig would save money?
Posted by: Abdominal Snowman || 03/20/2006 15:52 Comments || Top||

#5  They crooks up there in Boston are no dummies - they can see how the NO crowd is milking us. Probably terminally jealous - they have two insane Senators who enjoy juicy committee assignments and no ethics to bellow for them... The Big Dig would become the most important thing EVER, lol.
Posted by: Spugum Sherens5365 || 03/20/2006 15:56 Comments || Top||

#6  I was in Boston when Hurricane Bob came through. The coast got hit pretty bad but the only thing we got in Boston was a lot of rain and a bit of gusty wind. On the elevator next day I heard someone say, "Is that all there is to a hurricane? i was really wanting to see something". I thought about dope slaping him but held back.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/20/2006 15:59 Comments || Top||

#7  cmon, somebody has to say it, "Bastardi". Refreshing to see a weird name that isn't Islamic.
Posted by: Unique Battle || 03/20/2006 16:00 Comments || Top||

#8  The 2006 hurricane season will be more active than normal--

What are they basing this on?

My dad was watching FoxNews last year and a weather guy came on, said the pattern's going back to the 50s and 60s, up the eastern seaboard.

After he said that, my dad started remembering. Yup, there were hurricanes up the seaboard back then.

50 years from now, yada, yada, yada, Gulf of Mexico, more active.
Posted by: anonymous2u || 03/20/2006 20:30 Comments || Top||

#9  About 6 years ago, I worked with someone who was nearly finished w/ his PhD in weather modelling from Penn State. IIRC, AccuWeather's predictions are based on that model. At the time, at least, it was considered by far the most accurate and detailed one out there.

Bastardi likes to mug, but the longterm prediction about hurricane seasons is based IIUC on things like relative ocean temps and current locations. Things that don't change from week to week, but do shift from year to year and affect the temp/humidity of the air above.

FWIW ... ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/20/2006 20:47 Comments || Top||

Who's your granddaddy
A 75-year-old grandfather has become the newest star of Russia's growing porn industry, after wandering on to a film set by mistake, thinking it was a muscle man show.
David Bozdoganov has since starred in the films The Old Neighbour and Handyman at Work.

Director Alexander Plahov said: "We were auditioning for a new film and had a number of couples on stage simulating sex when I saw an old guy standing at the back.

"I wandered over to ask him to leave when I saw this massive package straining against his trousers.

"I thought, now this could be an original idea. And I was right: all the movies we've made with David have been huge successes."

The beast with two backs - and a walking stick. But not everyone is delighted. The priapic pensioner apparently believes in the beneficial powers of garlic and his female co-stars have complained about his habit of rubbing it on his genitals before filming action scenes.
Posted by: tipper || 03/20/2006 11:46 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [435 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Who's your granddaddy?

One was born in Germany, and the other was born in Ohio.
Posted by: BigEd || 03/20/2006 12:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Rubbing garlic on the genitals before sex?
Posted by: Penguin || 03/20/2006 15:30 Comments || Top||

#3  They ought to be grateful he's rubbing it on his, not theirs.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/20/2006 18:47 Comments || Top||

#4  How many 75-year olds get to go out claiming he died by making love to many women, and many more than Brad Pitt = Death himself.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/21/2006 0:00 Comments || Top||

Cat to rescue after owner collapses
When Doreen Hunt collapsed in her bathroom during the night there was no one awake to raise the alarm. Step forward Gizmo, an elderly Siamese cat with one tooth. Sensing something was wrong, the 15-year-old pet stirred from his usual spot at the bottom of Mrs Hunt's bed and began meowing loudly.
Lassie calls for help. Cat owners will recognize this as Gizmo bitching about her being up and not petting him.
The noise eventually woke Mrs Hunt's husband, Peter, 76, who found his wife slumped on the floor of their house in Stafford and called an ambulance. Speaking from her hospital bed, Mrs Hunt, 73, who suffered paralysis down her left side, said: "He's a super cat and I'm so grateful."
Posted by: Steve || 03/20/2006 11:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [291 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Where's breakfast!?"
Posted by: mojo || 03/20/2006 12:59 Comments || Top||

#2  I hope that husband goes to a sushi place and get's Gizmo some Salmon Sushimi!
Posted by: BigEd || 03/20/2006 13:40 Comments || Top||

Sex? Drugs? Of Course....it's an Indian Call Center!
Buy a Dell computer and turn a nice young Indian into a pot smoking pervert? I guess globalization is worse than we thought.

Recent polls of Indians working in call centers for British and American companies found that they are adopting the values of Hollywood movies and British TV.

Two recent surveys found many staffers admitting to casual affairs, The Times of London reported. In one poll, one in four admitted to casual sex -- and in the other, one in five said they had had an affair with a colleague.

Shankar Rao, deputy commissioner of the New Delhi Police, suggested that the call centers provide counseling to keep staffers off drugs and sex and that they should make sure no one works more than three nights a week.

Wouldn't that give them more time to hook up?

"The companies should insist on certain standards," Rao said. "I want to make sure these call centers do not become dens of evil." I'm surprised they didn't just try to profit off of it instead. Y'know...press 1 for a Hindi Hottie, press 2 for a Bengali Babe...
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/20/2006 06:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [445 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And what's different about a call center than any other office job?

Oh, that's right, you can blame anything that happens there on the evil Westerners who foisted these evil jobs on India.

Good grief. This can't be taken seriously by anyone - other than a Blame Specialist, lol. After having a cab driver in Bombay try to sell me his "daughter" for the night and being propositioned by the hotel maid every day I was there, I'd say this is definitely a bit overwrought. Call me a Western hottie, cool to the game.
Posted by: Spugum Sherens5365 || 03/20/2006 9:37 Comments || Top||

#2  huh - how i know why whenever i phone anything in this country i end up talking to some seemingly smacked up or just mumbling and occassionally giggling! but remember like every problem in this modern world it is the wests fault!
Posted by: ShepUK || 03/20/2006 9:43 Comments || Top||

#3  Buy a Dell computer and turn a nice young Indian into a pot smoking pervert? I guess globalization is worse than we thought.
Posted by: 6 || 03/20/2006 10:14 Comments || Top||

#4  Are they hiring?
Posted by: DarthVader || 03/20/2006 10:34 Comments || Top||

#5  Please stay on the line. Your call is important to us. Your call is being directing to the first available agent. Your call will be taken in priority sequence right after someone finds a box of tissues. Thank you and have a nice day.
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/20/2006 10:38 Comments || Top||

#6  Dell's helpline is now a 1-900 number.
Posted by: ed || 03/20/2006 11:00 Comments || Top||

#7  ROFL, ed!
Posted by: Spugum Sherens5365 || 03/20/2006 11:04 Comments || Top||

#8  There's a Bollywood potboiler just waiting to be made about this.
Posted by: Mike || 03/20/2006 11:52 Comments || Top||

#9  Two recent surveys found many staffers admitting to casual affairs, The Times of London reported. In one poll, one in four admitted to casual sex -- and in the other, one in five said they had had an affair with a colleague.

So is the story that contact with America leads them to admit to more stuff than they did before? Let the truth set you free baby.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 03/20/2006 12:01 Comments || Top||

#10  So where is the story? Weren't the Indian boinking long before western culture showed up? If you answer "no" explain 1.2 Billion Indians.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 03/20/2006 12:40 Comments || Top||

#11  you know that must weigh alot - 1.2 billion in such a small area. say 120 billion times an average of i dunno say 6 stone thats alot of weight , i dont do mathes (or english) but surly it must put a hefty weight on the earth to hold???
Posted by: ShepUK || 03/20/2006 16:32 Comments || Top||

#12  Maybe it will provide enough plotline for season 5 of "The Office"
Posted by: capsu78 || 03/20/2006 17:03 Comments || Top||

#13  Cyber Sarge, it might be a cultural thing. Really.

A good Bengali friend of mine tried to make that same argument ("Indians don't have sex...they are very shy."). I told him that I called bullshit on that, and he angrily demanded to know why. When I told him "Come on, there's a billion Indians. How the hell did they all get there??", he sheepishly admitted that I had a point. If he could have blushed, I'm sure he would have right then.

He is from the middle class, and they don't tend to have large families (just like the west). Add in the relatively tame "love scenes" in Indian movies, and they think of themselves as rather reserved sexually. Hence the big shock about what's mentioned in the article.

How they can believe that while being surrounded by a sea of humanity is something I'll leave for an anthropologist to explain....

Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/20/2006 21:23 Comments || Top||

#14  DB: How they can believe that while being surrounded by a sea of humanity is something I'll leave for an anthropologist to explain....

Actually, it's pretty simple. Sex without contraceptives leads to children. Lots of them, even if the sex occurs once a year. Westerners have a lot of sex. But we also use a lot of contraceptives.

Why are there so many Indians? Because India is the size of the Western Europe, but has been a civilization for 5,000 years - meaning it has had access to relatively advanced agricultural methods and been able to sustain large populations for that time. Another reason is that Indians, being conservative about sex, aren't real educated about contraceptives, oral or otherwise.

I think there's a misperception among Indians that Westerners are alley cats, due to some of the things they see on American television programs and Hollywood movies. They think Westerners see adultery and promiscuity as a positive good, when the reality is, of course, that we expect our significant others to behave themselves and have zero toleration for misbehavior. In the realm of sexual fidelity, Indian values are Western values. What they perceive as Western values is actually the use of sexual themes to bump up TV ratings and movie box office. (Do Indians believe everything they see on TV? Evidently they do - at least the salacious bits).
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 03/20/2006 23:36 Comments || Top||

Prosecutor urges Death for Christian Convert

Associated Press
Mar. 20, 2006 12:00 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic laws, a judge said Sunday.

The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan and highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists over what shape Islam should take here four years after the ouster of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime. You get the feeling they usually dispense with the formalities of a trial in these types of situations.

The defendant, 41-year-old Abdul Rahman, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told the Associated Press in an interview. Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam, and his trial started Thursday.

During a one-day hearing, the defendant confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical-aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Mawlavezada said.

"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. “It is an attack on Islam.”

Mawlavezada said he would rule on the case within two months.

Afghanistan’s constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death, said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Either maintain your faith in The Religion of Peace or we kill you. Any questions?

Repeated attempts to interview Rahman in detention were barred.

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused.

"He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one," Wasi said. "We are Muslims, and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."

After being an aid worker for four years in Pakistan, Rahman moved to Germany for nine years, his father, Abdul Manan, said outside his Kabul home.

Rahman returned to Afghanistan in 2002 and tried to gain custody of his two daughters, now 13 and 14, who had been living with their grandparents their whole lives, the father said. A custody battle ensued and the matter was taken to the police.

During questioning, it emerged that Rahman was a Christian and was carrying a Bible. He was immediately arrested and charged, the father said. At that point the custody battle seemed almost trivial to Abdul.

Afghanistan is a conservative Islamic country. About 99 percent of its 28 million people are Muslim, and the remainder are mainly Hindu. And the rest ain’t talkin’.

Link is to edited version
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/20/2006 12:25 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [313 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I had also submitted this article.

At times I wonder if we shouln't have leveled the place completely. It's about time for W. to have a heart to heart talk with Ben Kingslay Hamid Karzai about this kind of shit. Why are we there if the so-called "moderate moslems" are doing this?

This should be publicized by everyone. Enough is enough. If Iraq goes civil war? Try to help the Kurds (secular Moslems mostly) and Assyrians, but sometimes I feel as though we should just let the Sunnis and Shias wipe each other out. I have had enough of this.

Recently I watched the TV show, "The Bachelor". On that show, one of the 25 girls was a very pretty girl from Chicago who was a Christian of Arab descent. Her name is Jehan Huleisy. I just wonder what kind of krap she and her family would have if they lived over there.

Jehan Huleisy

The more and more I hear about this, and the polygamy being considered in the UK and all. I wonder if Spencer in his book, "Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades" wasn't correct after all. Violent and Anit-woman. Religion of Peace? Excuse me while I spit. Some of the stuff seemed truly over the top, but maybe not. If those people over there are kept in line by force and intimidation, that has nothing to do with God, or Allah or the Great Spirit. HE has many names. Ones heart goes out to the ones who know something isn't right with that Imam, and are in horrible fear to do anything about it.
Posted by: BigEd || 03/20/2006 13:13 Comments || Top||

#2  Violent and Anti-woman.

Finger fumble dyslexia. Excuse me. I was mad.
Posted by: BigEd || 03/20/2006 13:35 Comments || Top||

#3  Ones heart goes out to the ones who know something isn't right with that Imam, and are in horrible fear to do anything about it.

What imam? He was turned in by his relatives, charged by a prosecutor, and tried by a judge. It's not a handful of imams twisting the Koran; it's the whole fricking faith applying the contents of the Koran.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/20/2006 13:44 Comments || Top||

#4  Ones heart goes out to the ones who know something isn't right with that Imam, and are in horrible fear to do anything about it.

RC : This sentence applies to anyone in the Moslem world who is a Moslem, wishes they weren't, and is afraid to say something because of SHIT like this.
Posted by: BigEd || 03/20/2006 14:01 Comments || Top||

#5  This whole feakin religion and all who practice it are sick sick sick.

It makes me feel angery and helpless and numb all at the same time.

It causes me think thoughts that fill me with shame.
Posted by: kelly || 03/20/2006 15:57 Comments || Top||

#6  This is why there are no moderate muslims. There is no wiggle room for leniency or moderation. There is just submit or die. Or preferably submit and kill.
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/20/2006 16:50 Comments || Top||

Qatar seeks to reverse Arab brain drain
DOHA - Qatar is to try to reverse the Arab brain drain that has seen thousands of experts leave the region by bringing together expatriate Arab scientists at annual forums starting in April. The meetings will be held at Education City, an academic complex on the edge of Doha, which hosts branches of prestigious US colleges and has the objective of promoting scientific and technological research.

More than 15,000 Arab physicians left their countries to go abroad between 1998 and 2000, according to a study by the UN Development Program (UNDP).

Arab academics and scientists are often faced with a lack of adequate job opportunities at home, combined with a lack of public or private funding for research and development. Not only do industrialised nations, usually the United States or in Europe, offer better research opportunities, they also offer much higher salaries.
And we don't beat the stuffing out of the women. For example.
As a result, 200 Arab scientists have been invited to the first gathering, slated for April 24-26, to “formulate a clear and civilized approach ... designed to repatriate or benefit from Arab brains abroad,” said Saif Ali Al Hajari, vice-president of the Qatar Foundation which runs Education City.

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, described as a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, was set up in 1995 by the wife of Qatar’s emir, Shaikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Misned. Education City, launched in October 2003, hosts top tier US academic institutions, including Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas A and M University, and Weill Cornell Medical College, and a branch of the renowned New York school. A scientific and technological park within the city has attracted such household names as Microsoft, which has set up a research unit there, as have European aircraft maker Airbus, oil giants Total and Shell, and General Motors, the world’s leading car maker.

By bringing together Arab scientists currently living abroad, the Qatar Foundation wants them to “take part in promoting a culture of scientific research in the Arab world” while giving them “an opportunity to carry out their scientific projects,” Hajari said.

Their input would also help Education City “provide a sound education to new generations,” he told AFP. By entering into such a “strategic partnership,” Arab scientists ”will help us better draft our budgets, identify our needs in terms of infrastructure equipment, and even adapt legislation to take into consideration their intellectual copyrights,” Hajari said.

“Unless they are reassured in terms of legislation, Qatar will not be able to attract them,” said Hajari, adding that his foundation was not necessarily seeking the physical repatriation of Arab scientists. “We have no objection to cooperating with a scientist who prefers to go on living” in a foreign country, he said.
"Yes, he could be ... useful."
Hajari said Qatar Foundation also plans to invite to each forum Nobel prize laureates from different countries and fields who would help the scientists think of the future of scientific research and technological development in the Arab world.

Qatar Foundation is in the process of setting up a fund for scientific research, Hajari said without giving figures. “Qatar Foundation’s financial policy relies on bank deposits” invested in accordance with Islamic law and whose dividends are used to fund projects, he said, noting that the Qatari ruler’s wife had offered an eight-billion-dollar grant to a university and research hospital currently under construction at Education City.

The city is negotiating the opening of branches of French and US universities, the former to teach public administration and the latter journalism.
Yup, renowned experts there: the French are really good at 'public administration', witness their own government, and you just can't beat the NYT for journalism. I have a small idea: how about teaching engineering, computer science, math, biology, marketing and economics?
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [297 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Basically, all they need to do is make a complete 180 degree turn and emerge from the dark ages. Somehow I don't see this being the next Singapore.
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 03/20/2006 8:27 Comments || Top||

#2  What brains?
Posted by: TMH || 03/20/2006 9:40 Comments || Top||

#3  LOL, TMH. As with all of the GCC countries, Qatar is a Rent-A-Brain outlet.
Posted by: Spugum Sherens5365 || 03/20/2006 9:44 Comments || Top||

Caribbean-Latin America
Naked Venezuelans surround statue of Bolivar
Hat tip: Poliblog, which has a picture.
More than 1,500 people gathered around a statue of 19th century liberation hero Simon Bolivar on Sunday and posed nude for a pretentious U.S. artist famous for his photos of naked crowds in public spaces.
The fact that he's considered a "hero" goes far to explain why Latin America has been such a mess the past 200 years.
Spencer Tunick organized the Caracas photo shoot along downtown Avenida Bolivar, a frequent spot for political rallies by supporters of President Hugo Chavez. Surrounded by dozens of reporters and onlookers, the participants cracked jokes, shouted cheers for Tunick and struck poses for the press. "I worked very, very hard and the people were extremely, extremely, extremely weird exuberant," Tunick said after the shoot. "It's a new experience. And beyond the disinhibition of taking off clothes, this also involves art," said Jerry Lino, 30, who took part in the event. "One never feels naked."
Having someone's sweaty buns inches from your face sounds like a great way to spend the afternoon.
All those honkers help one get through it...
More than 7,800 people had signed up, but only between 1,500 and 2,000 showed up.
The rest had sobered up.
Bolivar looms large in the fevered rhetoric of Chavez. The populist president-for-life says he is leading a communist leftist "Bolivarian Revolution" to universalize end poverty in the South American nation.
Posted by: Jackal || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [288 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You know, I wouldn't go so far as to blame Bolivar for all the BS that Chavez sprouts, in spite of the fact that Chavez calls himself a "Bolivarian."

It's sort of like Slick Willy calling himself a Jeffersonian, if you know what I mean.
Posted by: Phil || 03/20/2006 0:36 Comments || Top||

#2  Ol' Simon set the precedent of the military stepping in to "save" the state during a political crisis, leading pretty much directly to every murderous junta to afflict South America for the last century at least.

Hint: most dictators aren't enlightened.
Posted by: mojo || 03/20/2006 1:03 Comments || Top||

#3  --Spencer Tunick --


He's famous?
Posted by: anonymous2u || 03/20/2006 1:08 Comments || Top||

#4  Show us how edgy an artiste you are Spencer. Organize a nekkid Kaaba photoshoot.
Posted by: ed || 03/20/2006 1:31 Comments || Top||

Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Turk, Armenian researchers agree joint research Armenian genocide
A small step, but when both sides agree to research based on documents, it's a start ....
Posted by: lotp || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [296 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Please -- there's no way any Turk will ever admit what happened.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/20/2006 7:17 Comments || Top||

#2  The Turks believe the documentary evidence to be slim, as indeed it apparently is. They probably hope to impeach what few documents do exist. We will then be faced with the tree falling in the forest conundrum. But just because there are no unimpeachable documents does not mean it didn't happen.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/20/2006 7:21 Comments || Top||

Five North Koreans defect to South by boat
Five North Koreans have defected to South Korea by boat, crossing the tense sea border off the peninsula's east coast, military officials said yesterday. The group, a couple in their 30s and their two children, aged 2 and 8, and a 26-year-old man whom investigators identified as a friend of the family, crossed the border late Saturday in a small wooden barge, which was intercepted by the South Korean Coast Guard.

The defectors told the sailors they wanted to defect, and were seeking asylum in the South, Yonhap news agency said, quoting investigators. "I decided to defect in January, as I had longed for the Southern society since I learned about South Korea's development after listening to the radio when I was in the army (from 1986-1994)," the husband, 37, only identified by his surname Lee, was quoted as telling investigators.

The investigators said the group left the North Korean port of Tongchon Friday after reporting to authorities they would go fishing. A portable gas burner, a hammer and a plastic bottle of mineral water were found in the barge.

About 1,380 North Koreans fled their impoverished country to the South last year, 1,894 in 2004 and 1,139 in 2003.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [283 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And TV was showing the original SOLYENT GREEN last night too, espec the "green wafer/cracker factory prod line scene - BTW, whatever happened to RETURN OF SOLYENT GREEN???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/20/2006 0:14 Comments || Top||

#2  But that can't be right! According to Jimmy Carter, North Korea is a paradise where the "people were very friendly and open." Pyongyang, is a "bustling city," where customers "pack the department stores," which looked like "Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia."

Posted by: Mike || 03/20/2006 6:43 Comments || Top||

#3  Mike, are those quotes for real? It wouldn't surprise me in the least. With Jimmuh, it's hard to tell reality from Scrappleface.
Posted by: xbalanke || 03/20/2006 19:58 Comments || Top||

#4  The terrible thing now is that their other relatives are doomed. May G-d have mercy upon them all; the NK government won't.
Posted by: Eric Jablow || 03/20/2006 21:59 Comments || Top||

Man found with wife's head in bag
A man is being held by German police after walking into a petrol station with his wife's severed head in a bag.
Would his name be Hans? Gunther? Fritz?
The 40-year-old man, of Turkish origin, was covered in blood when he approached the night counter at about 0400GMT and asked the attendant to call the police.
Guess that's a "no".
Hamburg police said officers found the head in a bag on a grass verge and arrested the man, who was in a confused state and admitted killing his wife. The body of the woman, aged 39, was found in their nearby flat.

Hamburg police spokeswoman Ulrike Sweden said the man seemed "a bit crazy" and may have to see a doctor before charges can be brought. She said police found a large knife in the flat in Eissendorf, in the south of the city. "It seems he used the knife to kill his wife and cut off the head," she told the BBC News website. The couple's two children - girls aged 13 and six - were found in the flat and taken into police care.

"It seems they didn't see the body or what was going on," the spokeswoman said. A motive for the attack is still unclear.
SEE: Religion of Peace
Both the man and his wife were of Turkish origin, with German citizenship.
Posted by: Steve || 03/20/2006 09:44 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [277 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "I come home from a hard day's spittle at the mosque, just picked up the welfare cheque and what do I find? Dinner? Nooooo, they's all watching cartooooons. I just lost it."
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/20/2006 10:59 Comments || Top||

#2  She obviously set the djinns upon him again. She's lucky she had such an understanding husband. Beheading was prolly too good for her.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/20/2006 11:04 Comments || Top||

#3  Why was the Islammo Man found with his wife's head in bag?

'cause he liked her!

Posted by: RD || 03/20/2006 11:29 Comments || Top||

#4  Unfortunately there is no death penalty in Germany so they won't sever his head and put it in a bag.

Posted by: BigEd || 03/20/2006 12:18 Comments || Top||

#5  "She always wanted to be the head of the family, so . . . ."
Posted by: Mike || 03/20/2006 12:34 Comments || Top||

#6  An elegant solution to the age old problem of the wifey complaining, "You never take me anywhere" and the muslim injuction to keep their women hidden.
Posted by: ed || 03/20/2006 12:49 Comments || Top||

#7  In honor of Steak N Knobber Day - a head story
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2006 13:07 Comments || Top||

#8  Doesn't he know you're supposed to send the body someplace else and bury the head under a rose bush?
Posted by: anonymous2u || 03/20/2006 14:44 Comments || Top||

#9  [Husband to children]

I want you kids to get ahead.

[/The Atilla the Hun Show]
Posted by: Zenster || 03/20/2006 18:04 Comments || Top||

#10  the things a guy's gotta do these days just to get a little head.
Posted by: cam76034 || 03/20/2006 20:15 Comments || Top||

Report row reveals Greek Cypriot resentment of US
Greek Cyprus' Justice Ministry said it would refuse to cooperate with future U.S. human rights reports, saying a State Department assessment issued this month smacked of bias. The boycott would only concern questionnaires from the United States related to the compilation of reports, but it demonstrated the depth of feeling in Greek Cyprus towards the United States.

Relations with Washington have cooled markedly in recent years because of a perceived bias in Greek Cyprus that the United States has towards Turkey.

To the anger of Greek Cyprus, the U.S. State Department recently said that trade with Turkish Cypriots, living isolated in the northern part of the island, is legal. Greek Cypriots oppose any direct trade between the Turkish Cypriots and the outside world, saying this would mean de facto recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state.

Turkey is pressing both the United States and the European Union for the lifting of the isolation of Turkish Cypriots.

The Greek Cypriot administration has indicated that it would not accept the United States or Britain acting as mediators in fresh talks over the future of Cyprus, questioning their honesty as mediators.

The State Department's annual human rights report often draws complaints and derision from several states it cites for rights violations, and China issues its own report detailing allegations of violations in the United States.

The same report, released earlier this month, has criticized Turkey for continuing torture and abuse by members of the security forces and said the government continued to limit freedom of expression in some cases. Turkish officials have so far not commented on the report's conclusions.

In the Greek Cypriot case, the U.S. report said police abuse, violations of asylum-seekers' rights, violence against women and people and trafficking were problems; however, the Greek Cypriot Justice Ministry said the authorities' views were totally ignored when compiling the report.

"We will not answer any of their questions (in the future) unless we get clear assurances they will be objective and take into account the facts," said Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou.

Theodorou said the report made sweeping and unsubstantiated accusations. "It is clear that the State Department report refers to general accusations and in some cases, without any proof whatsoever," he said.

In parts, the rights report was largely drawn from domestic media reports and said the country was both a destination and transit point for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation. Authorities, it said, "were aware of and generally tolerated the situation."

"The impression the report leaves is that its contents were already predetermined. Under such circumstances, I fail to see why we should in future answer the questionnaires sent out by the U.S. Embassy," said Theodorou.

Reports of the trafficking of women have existed for years. Johns Hopkins University in the United States issued an assessment last year saying that the prostitution industry, which relies on trafficking, generated an estimated $85 million per year in Cyprus, an island of less than 1 million people.
Posted by: lotp || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [285 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Mom always liked me better.
No she didn't.
Yes, she did.
No she didn't.
Yes, she did.
Posted by: Jinenter Glomort2391 || 03/20/2006 4:19 Comments || Top||

#2  I give this rant/seethe a 2. Tedious, petulant, no refutation of local reports that the joint is nothing more than a huge cut-rate bordello, no catchy slogan, no dire threats (tm), no curses.

It's not even worth asking if he wants feta with his whine.

Get some caffeine and try again, Doros. Might try burning a copy of the report, or trying to flush it down the loo next time for a nice visual, ok?

Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/20/2006 6:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Yet more people pissed that we won't solve their problems for them.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/20/2006 7:17 Comments || Top||

#4  I resent the Greeks and Turks, so no problem. Let's pull out of both.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/20/2006 7:25 Comments || Top||

#5  I know you are but what am I?
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/20/2006 8:42 Comments || Top||

#6  We coulda hada troll fest.

/waxing nostalgic
Posted by: 6 || 03/20/2006 10:19 Comments || Top||

#7  They obviously have not understood the message of Zorba the Greek.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/20/2006 10:22 Comments || Top||

#8  Feh. A pox on both their houses.
Posted by: mojo || 03/20/2006 13:00 Comments || Top||

#9  Big deal.

Everybody resents/hates the US.

Until they need help, or money - then it's demand, demand, demand.

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/20/2006 18:50 Comments || Top||

80% of jailed women facing Hudood charges
There are over 6,000 women and juvenile girls in various jails throughout the country, 4,621 of whom are the victims of discriminatory laws including the Hudood Ordinance, said a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report on the state of women. The HRCP said that there had been no decrease in honour killings despite the anti-honour killing law passed in 2004. Instead, the number of women murdered had increased in the year 2005 as compared to the previous year, it added.

The National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) said that 50 percent of government-run shelter house Darul Aman inmates were implicated in Hudood cases. "The commission had suggested that the law be repealed. However, the proposal had now been pending before the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for several months," said a NCSW member. Almost 80 percent of the total women jailed are facing charges under the Hudood Ordinance.
Posted by: Fred || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [306 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Where's the outrage, or public outpourings of righteous indignation, from the ACLU or NOW, or are they too busy having lunch with Mother Cindy and "Damn It, Janet" Sarandon, planning to free "occupied" NYC and Tiffany's from Dubya???
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/20/2006 0:28 Comments || Top||

#2  I keep saying that the way to end this nonsense in a hurry is for women there to be presented with the *concept* of making violence. Most males collapse like a house of cards when a woman gets violent--even the threat of violence cows most men.

If even a small handful of women behaved this way, and the word got around that it was *possible*, it would change everything. The few would have to be brave, as they could be severely abused or even killed. But it would change their entire nation.

A religious policeman criticizes their dress, so they grab a blunt or sharp object and hit him, no comment, no argument, no warning. One of their brothers slaps her, so she stabs him in the hand.

Some judge throws a woman in jail on some Sharia charge, he can't go near a woman without fearing for his life, or at least to get a stab wound in the abdomen.

Again, very, very few women actually need to do things like this for a sea change to happen. In some cases, even the *rumor* that women are doing such things will significantly change attitudes.

These are men who are raised to already hate and fear women, and to try and dominate them. If the women refuse to be dominated, most men just don't have the chutzpah to try and force the issue, so will slink away like a spanked dog.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/20/2006 10:07 Comments || Top||

#3  i wish it were as possible as you make it sound. But it would lead to wholesale slaughter.

The courts are against them. Sharia is against them.

Change of this sort neeeds to come from outside the culture - or at least provide a cushion for the action within. The alternative is piles of orphans and dead female children.

Hate to poke back at you, but the uprise must come from men. Sharia is a dangerous place for women. Massive death killing "upstarts" is already a given.
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/20/2006 10:53 Comments || Top||

#4  6000 women jailed for being raped or committing adultery. Gee, I wonder who they were having sex with? No men in those 6000 cases?

TW2412-you have a point about the risk of lots of women being killed for starting to be "uppity", but I think resistance really DOES have to come from women-otherwise, there won't be
buy-in by "eastern" men that women will no longer accept mistreatment. Change would merely be seen as a western imposition (which in a sense it is, but is nevertheless necessary).

But you're right in the sense that resistance currently has no cultural foothold there. I think where decent, fairminded men from outside the culture could help is by continuing to speak out on behalf of the women, as so many men on rantburg and other media do. I think the tide will turn by those women accessing ideas never encountered before-via radio programs, via words of leaders like Wafa Sultan and Hirsi Ali, etc, who speak out against female servitude and mistreatment, via words of everyday western women who speak as these eastern women have never heard the like of before. Women in the east have strong oral tradition-we need to find ways to get them talking to each other, in groups, as women. "Did you hear about what a woman named Hirsi Ali said?" Word of mouth is extremely powerful, especially in these types of societies. When they sense that they are part of a community of women fighting together, they are more likely to find courage to face the terrible risks of doing so. I guess maybe it's something like the solidarity, loyalty and courage that comes to men in the horrors of war.

And JM-that same old argument? I'm a feminist, and I'm right here, speaking out against these abuses of women.
Posted by: Jules || 03/20/2006 12:30 Comments || Top||

Moderate quake jolts Islamabad
A moderate earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale jolted Islamabad and parts of NWFP on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of damage, officials said. "It was a moderate intensity earthquake," said the chief of the Seismological Department Chaudhry Qamaruz Zaman. He said it was an aftershock of the massive October 8 quake that killed more than 73,000 people in the country. The shocks were felt at 7:49am in Islamabad and in Balakot and also in Mansehra and Swat districts, the officials said. The epicentre was 200 kilometres northeast of Peshawar. Two low intensity aftershocks, measuring 4.0 and 4.1, were felt later at 8:18am and 8:21am respectively, officials said.
Posted by: Fred || 03/20/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [431 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Damn puffins nesting in McHalliburton HAARP telluric accumulator No6 again...
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 03/20/2006 9:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Thank goodness it wasn't one of those fundamentalist quakes. The moderate quakes are much easier to get along with.
Posted by: Chinter Flarong9283 || 03/20/2006 9:33 Comments || Top||

#3  Moderitt quakes fer modritt mooselimbs
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 03/20/2006 9:34 Comments || Top||

#4  Beat me to it CF9 - so what would the equivalent of the richter scale be for the holey men of is-slum?

I like Spittle scale.
Posted by: Admiral Allan Ackbar || 03/20/2006 9:40 Comments || Top||

#5  I like Loonie Tooner.
Posted by: Thinemp Whimble2412 || 03/20/2006 10:56 Comments || Top||

#6  I like "Flattened under concrete" I've seen their construction first hand and close up, very weak.
(Father was a Civil Engineer, some 'larnin rubbed off.)
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 03/20/2006 12:37 Comments || Top||

#7  Moderate quake kills moderata Muslim.
Posted by: JFM || 03/20/2006 15:38 Comments || Top||

#8  Moderate quake kills moderata Muslim.

Then Ima theenin' we need a whole messa radical quakes.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/20/2006 16:38 Comments || Top||

#9  Listen up, or your firstborn are next.
Posted by: gromgoru || 03/20/2006 22:15 Comments || Top||

Science & Technology
Now Two Strains Of Avian Flu
Analyses of H5N1 Southeast Asian bird flu samples shows the two strains causing human disease are related and belong to two distinct genetic subgroups.

"As the virus continues its geographic expansion, it is also undergoing genetic diversity expansion," said Rebecca Garten, a researcher on the study. "Back in 2003 we only had one genetically distinct population of H5N1 with the potential to cause a human pandemic. Now we have two."

What that means, says Garten, is that the pool of H5N1 candidates with the potential to cause a human influenza pandemic is getting more genetically diverse, which makes studying the virus more complex and heightens the need for increased surveillance. She expects further continued diversity in the future.

"Change is the only constant," said Garten. "Only time will tell whether the virus evolves or mutates in such a way that it can be transmitted from human to human efficiently."

The findings by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were reported Monday in Atlanta, Ga., during the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/20/2006 19:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [515 views] Top|| File under:


And more funding.
Posted by: Bobby || 03/20/2006 20:29 Comments || Top||

#2  Worth it to track this thing and jump start vaccines if it does mutate enough for direct human - human transmission.

Some risks are worth taking insurance out against IMO.
Posted by: lotp || 03/20/2006 20:50 Comments || Top||

#3  agreed
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2006 21:20 Comments || Top||

#4  This really is the #1 risk factor. Killer flu has long menaced the US because we know what it can do.

AIDS is tiny in comparison. So is every other biological threat short of smallpox. The bad form of smallpox had a 20-40% mortality. Avian flu has somehow maintained 50%. This puts these two in a class by themselves.

It close to matches the projected lethality of a nuclear detonation in a major city in the US.

It is the big one. And yet, having said all of that, the US will get off lightly, compared to most of the rest of the world.

Don't panic. That will accomplish nothing. All you can do is wait. And when and if it comes keep your wits about you.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/20/2006 21:26 Comments || Top||

#5  This strain is considered to be possibly related to the Spanish Flu strain that killed millions worldwide. (My aunt died from that when she was 2. My dad was their parents' replacement baby.)

It's worth it to study this. Even if it doesn't turn into another Spanish Flu, there is probably something else out there that could turn into one. Keep in mind that people can and do jet from the jungles to major population centers in about a day, and factor in the scary truth that we don't have any "magic bullet" antibiotics left. If we are unlucky, some virus could wreak destruction even worse than the Spanish Flu did.

Get some of the lessons out of the way now. We waste billions on other stupid crap, why not spend a little on something that might actually pay off?
Posted by: Desert Blondie || 03/20/2006 21:33 Comments || Top||

#6  learn to wash your hands at ALL opportunities....and maybe stock up on masks
Posted by: Frank G || 03/20/2006 23:16 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Molotov Cocktail Attack On Two KFC Executives in Malaysia
The molotov cocktail attack on the home of KFC Holdings (M) Bhd executive director Ahmad Aznan Nawawi at Bukit Bandaraya here on Saturday night was not an isolated case -- a similar attack was carried out on a senior KFC manager at his Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya home 15 minutes earlier. Petaling Jaya Deputy OCPD Supt Abdul Rahman Ibrahim when contacted by Bernama confirmed the second incident but declined to reveal the identity of the senior manager. He said the police were trying to establish whether the attacks were related to any business rivalry.

"Investigations are ongoing and we are trying to establish the link between the two attacks. The police are looking at all angles," he said.

According to a source, the senior manager did not feel the seriousness of the attack which occurred between 9.15pm and 9.30pm until after he watched the TV news, Monday night.

The attack on the home of Ahmad Aznan occurred at about 9.45pm. One of the molotov cocktails hit his bedroom window and the other a wall. No one was injured and there was no serious damage to the house. The senior manager and his family were out during the incident leaving only the maid in the house. The senior manager only realised that the incident could be "pre-meditated" when he related it to another KFC director through the phone, Sunday.

Media reports speculated that the attack was "most probably" related to the corporate tussle where plantation-based company Kulim Bhd eventually emerged as a controlling shareholder in KFC through its holding in QSR Brands Bhd.

KFC is also involved in another controversy when it filed a lawsuit in the High Court here on March 3 against its former managing director Datuk Ishak Ismail for alleged breach of fiduciary and trust duties and Said @ Shuaib Bakar for conspiring with Ishak. The suit alleged that Ishak had wrongfully procured RM10 million from KFCH for his personal benefit while he was managing director of the company.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/20/2006 22:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [304 views] Top|| File under:

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On Sale now!

A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
Click here for more information

Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Scooter McGruder
john frum
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
Frank G
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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2006-03-20
  Senior al-Qaeda leader busted in Quetta
Sun 2006-03-19
  Dead Soddy al-Qaeda leader threatens princes in video
Sat 2006-03-18
  Abbas urged to quit, scrap government
Fri 2006-03-17
  Iraq parliament meets under heavy security
Thu 2006-03-16
  Largest Iraq air assault since invasion
Wed 2006-03-15
  Azam Tariq's alleged murderer caught in Greece
Tue 2006-03-14
  Israel storms Jericho prison
Mon 2006-03-13
  Mujadadi survives suicide attack, blames Pakistan
Sun 2006-03-12
  Foley Killers Hanged
Sat 2006-03-11
  Clerics announce Sharia in S Waziristan
Fri 2006-03-10
  MILF coup underway?
Thu 2006-03-09
  Qaeda fugitive surrenders in Kuwait
Wed 2006-03-08
  N. Korea Launches Two Missiles
Tue 2006-03-07
  15 Dead, Dozens hurt in blasts in north Indian temple town
Mon 2006-03-06
  Bangla Bhai bangla nabbed

Better than the average link...

Rantburg was assembled from recycled algorithms in the United States of America. No trees were destroyed in the production of this weblog. We did hurt some, though. Sorry.
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